Pistorius thought he shot a burglar

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Pistorius thought he shot a burglar

From Comcast SportsNetPRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he shot his girlfriend to death by mistake, thinking she was a robber. The prosecutor called it premeditated murder.The double amputee said in an affidavit read by his lawyer at his bail hearing that he felt vulnerable because he did not have on his prosthetic legs when he pumped bullets into the locked bathroom door. Then, Pistorius said in the sworn statement, he realized that model Reeva Steenkamp was not in his bed."It filled me with horror and fear," he said.He put on his prosthetic legs, tried to kick down the door, then bashed it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp, 29, shot inside. He said he ran downstairs with her, but "She died in my arms."Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday charged the 26-year-old athlete and Olympian with premeditated murder, alleging he took the time to put on his legs and walk some seven meters (yards) from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire. A conviction of premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail.The Valentine's Day shooting death has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian. Steenkamp was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast on Saturday, two days after her death.The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law.Nel told the court that Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where Steenkamp was cowering after a shouting match. He fired four times and three bullets hit Steenkamp, the prosecutor said."She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere," prosecutor Nel argued. "It must have been horrific."Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer, Barry Roux, insisted the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge."Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" he asked about the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."He said the state had provided no evidence that the couple quarreled nor offered a motive.Nel rebutted: "The motive is I want to kill.'"There were affadavits from friends of Pistorius and Steenkamp read out by defense lawyer Roux in the bail hearing.The statements described a charming, happy couple. The night before the killing, they said, Pistorius and Steenkamp had canceled separate plans to spend the night before Valentine's Day together at his home.As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated Tuesday at a memorial service in the south-coast port city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members had arrived from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers, into the church for the private service.June Steenkamp, the mother, said the family wants answers."Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" she said in an interview published Monday in The Times newspaper.Outside the court, several dozen singing women protested against domestic violence and waved placards urging Pistorius be refused bail. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one placard said.South Africa has some of the world's worst rates of violence against females and the highest rate in the world of women killed by an intimate partner, according to a study by the Medical Research Council. Another council study estimates a child or woman is raped every four minutes. While homicide rates have dropped, the number of women killed by current or former partners has increased, said the council's Professor Rachel Jewkes. At least three women are killed by a partner every day in the country of 50 million, she said.Steenkamp campaigned actively against domestic violence and had tweeted on Twitter that she planned to join a "Black Friday" protest by wearing black in honor of a 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and mutilated two weeks ago.What "she stood for, and the abuse against women, unfortunately it's gone right around and I think the Lord knows that statement is more powerful now," her uncle and the family spokesman Mike Steenkamp said after her memorial.He said the family had planned a big get-together at Christmas but that had not been possible. "But we are here today as a family and the only one who's missing is Reeva," he said, breaking down and weeping.Pistorius was born without fibula bones and had them amputated when he was 11 months.The man known as the Blade Runner because of his running prostheses has lost several valuable sponsorships estimated to be worth more than 1 million a year.On Tuesday, the athlete was ousted from a pro-gay campaign being launched in Cape Town, organizers said. In a video axed from the campaign, Pistorius says "You don't have to worry. You don't have to change. Take a deep breath and remember, It will get better.'"

Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start

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Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start

BOSTON -- His first start wasn’t exactly what everyone expected.

Now, Drew Pomeranz has his shot at redemption in more ways than just improving on his last start — which won’t take much.

The lefty makes his second start since joining the Red Sox at the tail end of the All-Star break, following a shaky Minnesota series that John Farrell admitted could have easily gone south.

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive [wins] in this series,” Farrell said after the Red Sox’ 8-7 victory Sunday. 

And each day was a different issue -- with the exception of a blowout win on Thursday night.

Friday had no offense. Saturday had crazy wind, sketchy fielding and another subpar performance from David Price. And Sunday saw a couple of fly balls land that shouldn’t have -- to go with the bullpen nearly blowing the lead.

In fact, the bullpen had a 6.97 ERA this weekend. In 10 1/3 innings of work, they gave up eight earned runs.

Take out Brad Ziegler’s two shutout innings and they almost averaged one run per inning -- which would be a 9.00 ERA.

So, the fielding has been shaky. The bullpen blew a game where the Red Sox scored nine runs Saturday night and nearly did it again the next day when the Sox scored eight.

Add that on to a second outing where you’re trying to win over a city and region after pitching only three-plus innings, and allowing five runs, in your debut, in which the offense had given you plenty of run support, staking you to an 8-0 lead Wednesday night against the Giants (the Red Sox held on to win, 11-7).

And, you were traded for one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball -- who has become even more valuable in everyone’s eyes since you’re debut.

Last, and probably least, the guy who traded to get you -- and expressed he’s had interest in you since you were drafted -- well, you’re pitching against his old team and the guy who -- although on the decline -- has been the face of the Detroit Tigers franchise for nearly a decade in Justin Verlander.

No pressure though.

Welcome to Boston.

OFFSEASON

Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

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Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

By Dan Feldman, NBCSports.com Pro Basketball Talk

Michael Jordan might have never said “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

But that quote has defined him politically.

Whether the perception has been fair or not, he’s clearly trying to change it.

Jordan in ESPN's The Undefeated:

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

You can read Jordan’s full statement here.